Name from dens, tooth, referring to the root.

Perennial. Rich leaf-mould in open woods, sometimes in thickets and meadows. Nova Scotia, Ontario, Minnesota, southward to the Carolinas and Kentucky. Frequent in northern Ohio. April, May.


Long, horizontal, fleshy, crinkled, branched and toothed, five to ten inches long, crisp, edible.


Stout, smooth, ten to twelve inches high.


Two, opposite or nearly so, compounded of three ovate, toothed leaflets; leaflets coarsely toothed; leaves from the rootstock broader, on long petioles.

Two Leaved Dentaria. Dentaria diphylla

Two-Leaved Dentaria. Dentaria diphylla


White, of the type called crucifer, about half an inch across, in a loose, terminal cluster.


Sepals, four, the two outer narrow.


Petals, four, much longer than the sepals, white, in opposite pairs forming a cross; each petal with a short claw.


Six, two shorter than the others, which are of the same height.


One; ovary two-celled; style slender.


Pod, linear, two-celled, about an inch long, tipped with the slender style.

Pollinated by small bees. Nectar-bearing.

Crinkle-Root, as this plant is known to country children, possesses a long, edible rootstock, crisp and peppery and well worth the trouble of digging it up. The leaves rising from the rootstock stand up on long petioles, and are compounded of three broad, ovate, toothed leaflets. There are two similar leaves on the flowering stem nearly opposite one another.

This is one of our early bloomers, found in company with the Anemones and Bloodroots, and following the Hepatica. The flower is a white cross, the inflorescence a terminal raceme, the fruit a flat pod. While the plants do not exactly grow in beds, there are many together, so that one might say they grow in communities.